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painful crisis is when little Dagonet—the sacrifice to hospitality as being a favorite poor faithful clown, the affectionate hu- horse which the Byzantine emperor, to man dog-looks up to his royal master make trial of Hatem's renowned generosity, and says, sobbing,

had sent messengers to request as a gift, “I am thy fool,

and which, on their arrival, and before And I shall never make thee smile again.” Hatem had learned the object of their As to the Guinevere idyl, there would natur- coming, he had (being straitened in his

larder, and horseflesh being regarded as ally be some sense of cheerfulness about the parties, like two divorced people taking lunch dainty food) killed and cooked for their

entertainment. It was natural that the together after the judge has decreed separa- gallantry of western Europe should have tion a vinculo. Arthur's spirits are stirred by substituted a lady-love for the emperor, and the battle in which he is about to engagedubious one, it is true; but Arthur is a Celt,

that the gentle sport of falconry should

have suggested a pet hawk for the Arab's and the outlook has its charms. On the other

steed. hand, Guinevere has been confessing the wrongs done by her; and next to wronging a

In style, Tennyson seems to harmonize, friend or lover, what a woman most enjoys is to a remarkable degree, with the languid telling him of it. In such a crisis, there is tenderness of the Italian prosaist. Had falsehood either to her lord or her lover, Boccaccio been kept in Purgatory five hunand falsehood is never lofty or touching. It dred years for his sins of sense, and then as is moral, however; but morality is neither penance let loose in England to write what epic nor tragic. If prim Madam Morality pleased him, he certainly would have chosen escapes being laughable, she is lucky.

the Laureate's style. The business of appropriating other men's Into what bright and glittering pieces labors as the foundation for one's own has

Tennyson has recoined the old Italian been a matter of controversy in the forum of bullion! And with what manly decency literary morality ever since the Æneid. Is does he stand out in his vigorous, mental it a merit or a vice to take up and improve health

as compared with La Fontaine's another's thought? A certain class of critics licentious indolence, and in working the would like to make it a crime; but, on the

same lode. other hand, success seems to crown every As a moralist, and in comparison with author, whether epic poet or dramatist, who the French masters in that regard, Tennyaccomplishes such a robbery boldly and son has much of the delicate faculty of artistically. There is, probably, no great observation of the suppressed emotions and literary monument (not even excepting passions of men and women, which vivifies Homer's epics), that is not a plagiaristic con- the prose of La Bruyère. version for which not one but several generations and ages might be actionable together. In his subjects and his treatment of

An instance of this successive appropria- them, Tennyson is the very high priest of tion is the story of "Federigo and the “Divinest Melancholy"; and in that particuFalcon,”

," claimed to be original with Boc- lar, whatever be the cause, whether it lies in caccio. 1 As a fact, it is an Arabic legend the imperfect digestion of his generation or told of Hatem Tai, a sheik and poet in its overwrought nervous powers, he is of a period prior to Mohammed, whose emphatically the poet of his age, of its metrical attacks upon avarice are still on thought, and emotions. He has only to the lips of his countrymen; the legend touch the chords, and humanity mysteriousvarying, however, in that it represents the ly grieves like a tender-hearted setter under

1 Landino, in his commentary upon Dante (Canto the magic of a nocturne on the piano.
VIII., Inferno), declares that Boccaccio actually heard
the story from Coppo, who knew the hero.

Politically, Tennyson would appear to be

a

a

an aristocratic liberal; that is, a man who lished in "Friendship's Offering" for 1839, assumes to be above the people rather than an annual to preceding years of which Tenof them; who would not the less scorn to nyson had contributed. The subject apadd a feather to their weights in running pears also to have been selected by Jean de the race of life; but who, at the same time, Hays, a French dramatist, at the close of has an amiable contempt for the servility, the sixteenth century, for his “Cammate.” treachery, and dishonesty which are more As each of Tennyson's plays has been than likely to be qualities inherent in pov- produced on the stage, there has been a buzzerty, whether handicapped or not by igno- ing sub-murmur of critics that there was only rance or servile origin.

And in any event,

a succès d'estime, if not an absolute failure. ex officio every poet should be something of Had there been an out-and-out failure, it a tory.

would only have been what might have been For the same reason, a poet should, for expected. The poet is not versed in stage his profession's sake, belong to the more business, as is Boucicault, and such knowlarchaic church. The ceilings of the would- edge is absolutely essential to the composibe philosophical temple of Protestantism tion, nowadays, of a successful drama. Had have too white-washed and forbidding a the rectory lad improved his time properly look to invite the muses to kneel therein. from, say, 1830 to 1840, in lounging in the But we have no right to expect that a man green-rooms and posing in the side-scenes, born in an English rectory should escape jostling scene shifters and shawling southe prejudices which are the lares haunting brettes, and taking thespian parties to supper its hearthstones. To me, Queen Mary, orgies, instead of sitting priggishly in his whether regarded as a poem or a drama, is darling room and posing as Miss Alfred, a very uncomfortable production. There is his training would now stand him in good an aura of chilliness running through the service. entire subject. There is but one cheery But a day may come when the public moment or word to rest upon; and that is familiar with the text of his plays will enjoy where “Robin came and kissed me milking them on representation. Be it remembered the cow.”

that “The Cid” had detractors whose opinWives who suffer as did Mary are by no ions were weighty; and that Molière's witmeans uncommon; and in a social point of tiest lines took time to impress. view, to say the least of it, it was rather The telegraph tells us that Tennyson's ungallant of the Laureate, in his eagerness prose drama, “The Promise of May,” is a to strike a blow for his island's church, to failure; and also that the Most Noble the hit out at a poor, visionary old maid mak- Marquess of Queensberry arose and proing a loveless and fruitless marriage. When- tested against the travesty in the play of the ever rubicund and wheezy Anglican ecclesi- modern dogmas concerning free thought, asticism feels, as punishment for its good and left the house. One is carried back to living, an extra twinge of rheumatic gout in the days of Louis Quatorze, and to the its joints, it has frightful visions of the noble cavaliers who then crowded the stage. Armada and the Spanish Inquisition; and what the deuce has a noble marquess to do groans about thumb-screws and racks. with free thought, anyway? A coronet is

about as handy a thing to have on in a “The Cup," as a drama, has, I believe, revolution in politics or religion as a stovehad more stage success than either Harold pipe hat in an Irish shindy. How much or Mary, and has bits here and there in the more appreciative a critic would Her Grace poet's happiest manner. The incident is Kitty of the ducal Queensberrys have been taken from Plutarch’s “Amatoria” (repeated — Prior's Kitty-Gay's Kitty—who stood in Polyænus). I remember seeing it made stoutly up for "The Beggar's Opera," and into a story with a French mise en scène, pub- nursed the sick poet in his disgrace when

a

royalty itself turned censor-Walpole's Kitty spared to us as long as was Fontenelle to -could she have sat in a box and patted her the Frenchmen; that he will see an internapretty hands!

tional copyright in smooth working order;

that he will make a fortune out of his books, Tennyson's fame has brought him one every stanza bringing him a one-carat diafrightful infliction, in the persistent intrusion mond; and that he will be peremptorily upon his time and acquaintance of lion- summoned to the House of Lords before hunting tourists; and it is even murmured "that venerable bulwark” is smashed to that there is a class of traveling Americans flinders by the artillery of "Free Thought.” especially guilty in that way.

What a pang strikes the hearts of usHawthorne set Americans an example in

“With tonsured heads in middle age forlorn ” that regard which should have been accepted. Now, if there was American who when a master of our day passes away! would have represented our nation gracefully How many are there of us who have read in the poet's eyes, it would have been Haw- a fresh novel with any intensity since Thackthorne; if any American could have been eray fell asleep? People of the glaring, imsure of a welcome, it was Hawthorne; and pertinent generation coming in and treading yet he contented himself with a good look on our kibes may have their new fiction, at the Englishman in a public assembly. new poems, and new philosophy; but we There might be a remedy for the evil, pacify- will none of them. ing all parties. The poet might select a tall The generation which commenced "when young man from the rising generation—some classic Canning died” is closing; the men Maudle or Postlethwaite—who would not who amused and instructed it are, with some cloy with being stared at (and there are young few exceptions, gone. Macaulay, Thackbards to whom notoriety is so sweet!) to eray, Dickens, Longfellow, Dr. Newman, play the part of the veteran's double, and be Carlyle, Mrs. Browning, George Eliot, are shown as the actual incumbent of the lau- dead. If a few like Manning, Gladstone, reateship. Of course, the shadow would have and Tennyson still remain with us, “yet is to prune his diction so as not to ruin Ten- their strength labor and sorrow.” nyson's reputation; but such discipline There is no easy transition or succession might be a great benefit in years to come. from one generation to another. There is

always a moral chasm intervening. The Tennyson has, as a fact, founded no coming race may admire Tennyson; but he school. His grammatical tricks, his fash- will not be their representative poet. His ions of prosody, his shades of mannerism, prides, his sympathies, his affections, his have all been imitated, for all had the seed; politics, his beliefs, will be archaisms to their but the revolution in science, over the in- taste. There are poets, possessors of some fancy of which Tennyson has been a watch- power and authority in our reading world, ful sentinel, and the broadening of the field who may reign after him; but it will be as a of culture, the new aims which are to be new dynasty, and not by regular succession. sought, and the new foes which are to be It will be a bad index of the morality of vanquished, render it necessary that “the the next age if the band of “fleshly” bards foremost files of time,” in which Tennyson who have already glided into popularity has so long served as a grenadier, be filled maintain their ground permanently. They up with

young recuits armed with new weap- are as foreign to the Laureate in temperons; and that the veterans who survive beament and morals as were the authors of left to do simple garrison duty over the the days of Charles II. to Milton. The clef spoils already captured.

to which the Laureate has at all times set Tennyson has lived a brilliant and com- his notes has been one of honest morality plete literary life. We hope he may be or honest remorse. He has sung either the miseries that attend as sequences to impos- revival of letters have been all melted down sible or disappointed love in self-reverencing and thoroughly mixed. The old plate of natures, or the happiness which honestly Asiatic thought must now go into the pot. comes from gratification; but he has not Tennyson felt the need of being in full dallied over description of the actual phe- sympathy with the scholarship of his day, nomenon of passion. Love is present in and attained it. But the new poet, the posall his verses; but it is hidden under the sible worthy successor of Tennyson, must soil, like the dead man's head in the Pot of not rest with Virgil and Theocritus, Dante Basil. It is the force behind the emotion- and Shakspere, as his masters and guides. not the ultimate object to be reached. But He must go back to the cradle of the with the school I speak of, the delirium is world, peradventure, to find there, not modthe normal state of the pulse; and poetry is els, but mysterious metaphysical forces, held to be merely one long gloating chant of wherewith to vivify his verse.

This new tyrannic and gnashing sensuality, that sug- poet, whoever he be, this Iopas to come after gests the turgid visions of an insane retreat, the Phemius of Her Majesty Victoria's court, and the propriety of prompt exhibition of a must, in any event, as part of his poetic task, strong dose of bromide to the fevered learn to clothe the present aridity of science or epileptic versifier.

in graceful garb. He must be a Lucretius to What Tennyson thinks of that sort of the Memmii of the next race. poetico-sexual Katzenjammer may be gath- How he will work, what elements he will ered from the fact that he makes Lucretius employ, what emotions invoke, we of this speed his departure out of life when he dis- age cannot declare, any more than Coleridge covers, or fancies that he discovers, what a could have foretold the success and glory of degraded phenomenon it is, under given con- Tennyson. ditions.

I have suggested that Tennyson closes a

NOTE.-Now that Mr. Fletcher and his collaborapoetic generation. He has been in sym

teurs have published a new edition of Poole's Index

to Periodical Literature, there is no longer any pathy with every great poet, from Dante necessity of referring the reader to magazine articles. downward. He is, as it were, the end of Some of them have a merit apart from the subject. the Renaissance. After all, there is only a Notably, the article by “D. R.," a Lincolnshire difference of degree, of intensity of knowl- Rector (Macmillan’s, 1874), said to be the Rev.

Drummond Rawnsley, a connection of both the edge, between, say, Petrarch, Erasmus, Bent

Tennyson and Franklin families, and a poet himself. ley, Dr. Johnson, Porson, and Dr. Arnold. It may be proper to call the reader's attention to the All belong to the same order of thought, letters by the first Lady Franklin, who died in 1825, used the same materials—that is to say, they to Miss Mitford, both before her marriage to the rescued the fragments of Greek civilization great sailor and afterwards, as evidence of the cul

tured character of those Lincolnshire villages. and letters, and worked them into western

The only books that it is necessary here to refer culture. Those materials, so far as the readers to (more for the sake of acknowledging my workmen are concerned, are exhausted. obligation to them than anything else) are “Alfred There is little or nothing of them that is not Tennyson, his Life and Works,” by Walter E. Wace, being manipulated at third or fourth hands. Edinburgh, 1881; and "Tennysoniana,” by R. H. There must be details told off to go out into Shepherd, 2nd edition, 1879. To those who wish to OBSERVATIONS ON THE NEW CONSTITUTION.

gain some idea of the bibliography of our poet, both the forests, like Homer's Achaians, for new

or either of the volumes will render a satisfactory timber. The precious metals of the Greek service. VOL. 1.-3.

T. H. Rearden.

The Hon. J. P. Benjamin, in a lecture attended in person to give verbal explanadelivered in San Francisco twenty-two years tions about matters on which the senate ago, took for his subject the differences be- required information. That body, during tween the constitution of the United States those early days, afforded no field for the as it was intended by its framers, and the public display of forensic ability, no vantagesame constitution as it had come, in the ground for ambition; and so marked was course of seventy years, to be administered. this seclusion from the public eye that He adverted first to the provisions in rela- aspiring men preferred the house of repretion to the election of president, and pointed sentatives, where they found an opportunity out the changes that had taken place in the of putting themselves prominently before practical operation of those provisions as the people. But all this had completely compared with the theory of the delegates changed. The house of representatives had to the convention who drew and adopted become so numerous and its business had them. Their idea, in providing for presi- come to be managed in so formal a manner dential electors, had been to select wise and that such a thing as real debate was rarely prudent men, who, after consultation, should ever witnessed in its hall; while on the other choose some eminent citizen most worthy to hand the senate had lost its original advisfill the exalted office of chief magistrate; but ory functions and become the debating in practice, presidential electors had become branch of the national congress, the chosen mere passive instruments for recording the arena for ambitious aspiration. popular vote. The president had come to And so the lecturer went on, pointing out be elected as directly by the people as if numerous changes that had taken place. his name were printed on every ballot He spoke of the wide divergence from the thrown by the winning party on election principles and purposes of the founders of day. Instead of what had been fondly sup- the government in relation to appointments posed to present the most perfect scheme to office, and gave it as his deliberate convicdevised by the wit of man for insuring the tion that the indiscriminate removal of all best choice of a chief magistrate for a free subordinate incumbents on every change of people, the whole business of president. administration, for the mere purpose of remaking had fallen into the hands of schem- warding political adherents for partisan sering politicians and the vile machinery of vices, was in the last degree subversive of party conventions.

political morality; and he pronounced the He next turned his attention to the practice of making such indiscriminate rechanges in the functions of the senate, as movals, that had grown up, one of the most contemplated by the framers of the consti- lamentable perversions of the constitution tution, and its functions in practical opera- as it was intended and adopted, fraught tion. It had been intended that the senate with infinite mischief, reaching much farther should advise and counsel with the presi- than appeared upon the surface: and said dent in all important executive concerns; that the statesman who should devise an and for this reason, for the first few years, efficient remedy for the evil would confer an it sat with closed doors like a council of inestimable benefit on his country. He also state, and the president frequently appeared spoke of the unconstitutional exercise of in person and consulted with it in refer- power by President Jefferson in the purchase ence to governmental affairs: and on the of Louisiana, the pernicious example thus other hand the secretaries of departments set for the acquisition of territory in modes

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